While she and her husband did have lunch with Hitler, and Simpson met with Hitler’s foreign minister, Madonna said they were far from the only ones in that era to do so.
“There was nothing unusual about them having a meeting at that time,” Madonna said. “I believe people wanted to undermined their popularity once they abdicated.”
The film is rich in visual detail, with a sumptuous wardrobe created by Arianne Phillips from photographs of the Duke and Duchess together and studies of fashion archives and museums. The jeweler Cartier also recreated copies of pieces that the Duke had commissioned for the Duchess, apparently an attempt to make up for the royal jewels that would never be hers.
Madonna said she wanted to indulge in the luxury as a counterpoint to the poverty of the inner lives of the two protagonists: “To make the point that no matter how beautiful and glamorous your surroundings, there is no guarantee for happiness.”
For the film’s press debut, Madonna wore a replica of a bracelet made for Simpson by Cartier, with the birthstones of her four children, and a prim dark dress with a high white collar and white trim along the sleeves she said would have appealed to Simpson.
Madonna said she received support for the project from both her two director ex-husbands, Sean Penn and Guy Ritchie. But she also acknowledged that that during her 10-year marriage to Ritchie, she was intimidated from directing.
“I didn’t think I had the right to make a film until I paid my dues, which I did by making “Filth and Wisdom” in 2008, she said.
Madonna, the enduring pop icon who has been a dancer, singer, actress and now director, says all of her experience is coming together in “W.E.”
“I see myself as a storyteller. Film has always informed the other areas of my work. I don’t think that being a filmmaker is such a big leap,” she said. “I think all of my work before actually prepared me for the responsibility of filmmaking.”